Additional Information About Travel to Ecuador
TippingAt the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your tour guide and driver a gratuity. Your WEST tour coordinator will collect the gratuity at any point during the tour (many travelers like to pay ahead of time to get it out of the way). Although it is not required, your driver and tour guides rely on these tips, and work hard to ensure you an unforgettable experience. We recommend tipping the equivalence of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your tour guide. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2 USD/CAD per local guide, payable following the local tour. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
In order to enter Ecuador, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home.We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you’ll have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
About Your Galapagos Cruise
Your Galápagos cruise offers the latest in cruise comfort while also providing an intimate and environmentally safe look at the Galápagos Islands. The yacht features an outdoor pool, observation decks, solarium, library, bar and large restaurant. Choose from a wide variety of activities in your free time—everything from snorkeling to stargazing. Please note: Due to the ship’s itinerary, the order of days in Quito before and after the cruise could change.
We advise that you pack in layers. Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is also recommended for exploring the cities. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket is advised. You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance. Waterproof shoes or sandals, a swimsuit, sunscreen, sun hat and insect repellent are recommended for outdoor activities..A small bottle of hand sanitizer may be helpful when other facilities are not readily available while on the road. You may also want to include binoculars to better see the wildlife. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
You will use the U.S. dollar (USD) in Ecuador, although denominations higher than $20 may not be accepted in some areas of Ecuador. Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise using ATM/debit cards and credit cards, both of which are accepted in most countries. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges. International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour. On your cruise ship, you may open an account at reception to pay for on-board expenses with a credit card; Visa, Mastercard, American Express and U.S. dollars are accepted. You can select your payment method upon arrival.
Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Quito. On-tour transportation is provided primarily by private motor coach, but may include planes, trains, boats, ferries, or other modes. While most destinations on your tour are accessible on foot, some cities may require some use of public transportation. Buses serve most cities and surroundings. Taxis are also available. Make sure the meter is running and always ask for a cab number and receipt.
Ecuador falls on a similar time zone to Eastern Standard Time, except it does not observe daylight saving time. Ecuador has the same time as New York. From October to April, when it is 9 am on the west coast, it is noon in Ecuador. From April to October, when it is 9 am on the west coast, it is 11 am in Ecuador.
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to this country. At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cde.gov. Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications may be banned in one or more countries on this tour. Importing these drugs can carry severe consequences, including imprisonment. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to departure to ensure that any drugs you may want to bring with you are legal in countries you will visit. If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify us by calling 855-355-8728 at least 30 days prior to your departure.
In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend the following:
- You will be traveling at altitudes as high as 10,000 feet above sea level. These high altitudes can sometimes cause difficulties for travelers who have heart problems or respiratory ailments. If you suffer from any of these conditions, please speak to your healthcare provider regarding any potential health risks
- Until your body acclimates to the higher altitudes, we suggest that you stay hydrated and limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Even healthy travelers may sometimes experience altitude sickness, a temporary condition in which symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea and light-headedness.
- Drink bottled water. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing your teeth.
- Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they’re cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
- Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication and any prescription medications
- Take avoid risk from excessive exposure to the sun, including the use of sunscreen and sun hats, and keep properly hydrated.
- There are inherent risks associated with snorking and other water sports, especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Discuss your planned activities with your healthcare provider for the best advice for participation.
- Seasickness while on board the cruise ship is uncommon, but medication will be available if needed. If you are particularly prone to seasickness you may want to bring your own medication and take it at least 24 hours before the cruise starts.
- If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour and any possible delays encountered.
Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse, reflecting the availability of ingredients across the country. At higher elevations, meat-based dishes are more popular, while along the coast you’ll find seafood in abundance. Traditionally, meals are served with soup and rice, and many feature starches like potatoes and yucca root. Bananas and plantains are also a major Ecuadorian export, appearing in many recipes. You might try patacones, a fritter made with mashed plantains, which is a popular Ecuadorean side.
While on the ship, you'll have the opportunity to follow expert naturalists to discover the unique beauty of the Galápagos Islands. These knowledgeable guides lead excursions ranging from snorkeling to bird-watching, giving you the chance to get closer to the incredible animals that make the Galápagos their home.
Ecuador uses 120 volts, and uses Type A or B plugs with two flat pins, or two flat pins and one round pin, respectively. The cruise ship operates on 110 / 220 volts. Both European and American outlets are available on the vessel. The frequency is 50 Hz. We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter. The strength of the air conditioning is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel. Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches. Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges. Wi-Fi connection is accessible when anchoring in main ports. Satellite phone service is offered while at sea.